Yosemite Launches Lottery System for Half Dome Cable Climbing

Sunday, January 22 2012 14:40   Yosemite
Yosemite National Park will use a lottery system to allocate Day Use Permits for climbing the Half Dome cables during the summer 2012 season, with the preseason drawing conducted through www.recreation.gov.

"We are trying to eliminate (permit) scalping, and to make the process as fair as possible for park visitors," Yosemite National Park spokesperson Kari Cobb told OldWestNewWest.com Travel & History Magazine.

halfdomecableFor the summer 2012 season, the park will continue requiring Day Use Permits seven days per week for climbing the Half Dome cables.

This is an extension of the interim permit system that was implemented beginning in 2010. The permit system is part of an interim program designed to address crowding and safety issues on the cables, according to Cobb.

A maximum of 400 hikers will be allowed each day on the Half Dome Trail beyond the subdome. The permit mix would be 300 day hikers and 100 backpackers.

According to the park, before the permit system was implemented in 2010, approximately 400 persons used the trail on weekdays, while about an average of 800 persons used the trail on weekends and holidays.

Permits for May 25 to Oct. 8, 2012 will be distributed by lottery in early April. The application period for the lottery will be from March 1 to March 31, 2012. Three hundred permits for each day will be available.

Applicants will receive an email notification of lottery results in early April (or can get results online or by calling Recreation.gov).

Additionally, approximately 50 permits will be available each day by lottery during the hiking season. These permits will be available based on the estimated rate of under-use and cancellation of permits. The exact number may change through the summer, the National Park Service said.

The daily lotteries will have an application period two days prior to the hiking date with a notification late that night, Cobb added.

For example, to hike on Saturday, a person would apply on Thursday and receive an email notification of results late on Thursday night. Results will also be available online, or by telephone phone the next morning. The application period will be from midnight to 1 p.m. Pacific time.

Details regarding the lotteries and the wilderness process can be found at the park's website at
www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hdpermits.htm. The lottery will be conducted through www.recreation.gov.

Hiking to the top of Half Dome is one of the most popular hikes in Yosemite National Park. The iconic granite monolith, at 8,842 feet above sea level, attracts people from all over the world who attempt to climb to the summit.

Most visitors ascend Half Dome via the cables, which are typically in place from mid-May through mid-October. Most visitors begin and end their hike at Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley. This is an approximately 14-mile round-trip journey.

Yosemite National Park covers nearly 1,200 square miles of mountainous terrain in the Sierra Nevada of California.


Related Articles